Salisbury's Practice Delayed Two Weeks
When Salisbury head coach Jim Berkman put together his schedule, he was likely anticipating nearly a month of practices leading up to the season opener against Greensboro on Feb. 12. However, the Salisbury athletic department has mandated that spring sports teams hold off on their first practice until Jan. 29.
"It's definitely going to cramp our style because we only have two weeks before our first game," Berkman said.
The move was brought about by fairness issues. Technically, if a team is practicing during the school's 'Winter Term,' which is basically the month of January, it must pay for the player's meals (regardless of whether they are taking classes or not).
"We could probably pay for it on ourselves, but the other sports can't, so our athletic director didn't want to be unfair," Berkman said.
While the Salisbury coach admitted it wasn't the preferred path to take, it probably won't be a game-changer. Berkman said the Gulls are a veteran team that can better handle this type of change. The team also practiced five weeks in the fall as opposed to their usual four.
In addition, just about the entire team has been on campus since Jan. 3, anyway.
"They've been getting after it pretty hard for three weeks," said Berkman, who noted the mild weather in January was helpful. "Obviously, the coaches aren't out there, but the players have been here working out pretty religiously."
The Greensboro game isn't a huge concern for Salisbury – the Gulls beat the Pride, 25-2, in the 2011 season-opener and 19-6 in '10 – but following that contest will be consecutive games against No. 15 Lynchburg and No. 3 Roanoke.
We'll probably get a better idea if the delay had an impact after those games.